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Federal judge blocks implementation of policy on asylum-seekers

Many people in Indiana and across the country have raised serious concerns about the Trump administration’s policies in regard to immigration, especially their effects on asylum seekers at the U.S. southern border. One federal judge has blocked the implementation of a widely publicized policy that sought to force hopeful immigrants to return to Mexico to await processing of their asylum claims in U.S. courts. The federal judge ruled that the Department of Homeland Security exceeded its authority under federal immigration law in issuing the order for the policy.

The 11 plaintiffs who had filed the legal challenge, including migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, were ordered admitted into the United States within two days from the date of the ruling, April 8. In addition, the judge issued a preliminary injunction with nationwide application to prevent DHS from forcing asylum seekers to return to Mexico in the future, an injunction that goes into effect on April 12. In his ruling, the judge said that the policy violated existing federal immigration law passed by Congress, which the Trump administration does not have the authority to change unilaterally.

In addition, he ruled that the policy change violated the 1951 United Nations Convention on Refugees. The United States is a party to the treaty, giving it the full force of domestic law. In the ruling, the judge noted that asylum seekers are fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries and said that forcing them to remain in Mexico placed them at further risk to their lives.

Many people in the United States have raised concerns that the administration’s approach to immigration issues could endanger their own ability to stay in the country. People who are concerned about adjusting their immigration status, avoiding deportation and protecting their rights may wish to consult with an immigration law attorney about their situation.